Zander Venezia: he will be missed in Barbados | Photo: Ferguson/WSL

A 16-year old surfer from Barbados died after breaking his neck during a heavy surf session generated by Hurricane Irma.

The accident took place at Box by Box, a spot located in Barbados' east coast. According to the early reports, Zander Venezia was caught by a closeout wave and hit a shallow reef.

The young surfer was pulled out of the water by Nathan Florence, who immediately called for help and started CPR. Zander Venezia was taken to the beach, where the paramedics tried to revive him.

The goofy-footed surfer from Bridgetown was still breathing when he arrived the local hospital, but he was not responsive. The doctors confirmed that Zander died from complications related to the broken neck.

Zander Venezia: a surfing champion from Barbados | Photo: WSL

A few minutes before the tragedy, Venezia told Dylan Graves, who was also in the lineup, that he had just ridden the best wave of his life. Zander Venezia was one of the most talented pro junior surfers from Barbados. 

"We are heartbroken to report that one of our USA Surfing family has passed away. He and his dad were at all of our Prime events and USA Championships," expressed USA Surfing.

"He was so gracious and kind and full of gratitude - even for having a jersey that fits. Life is fragile. Tell your kids you love them. We know Zander's dad, Lou, did before every heat."

Zander Venezia was crowned the U-12 national champion at the age of 11. In April 2017, he won the Open Juniors division at the NSSA East Coast Regional Championships.

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